For four months of the year, eight commercial fisherman are given permission to fish mullet in the estuary.
For four months of the year, eight commercial fisherman are given permission to fish mullet in the estuary. Contributed

How Ballina’s mullet fishers are helping improve river

A GROUP of professional mullet fishers have made an important donation to a local fishing conservation charity.

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The fishers who work through the Ballina Fishermen's Co-op bought a state-of-the-art water quality monitoring device for OzFish Unlimited, using money raised through sales of their annual mullet haul.

The device will help OzFish to quickly identify any changes in water and environment, boosting their efforts in fish habitat restoration projects within the Richmond River and improving the river's health and fisheries.

It provides real-time feedback on dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, pH and a number of other statistics.

OzFish Richmond president John Larsson said the device would help them respond more quickly and effectively to concerns about water quality.

Ballina's professional mullet fishers have donated a state-of-the-art water quality monitoring device to OzFish Unlimited.
Ballina's professional mullet fishers have donated a state-of-the-art water quality monitoring device to OzFish Unlimited.

"We have always had a great working relationship with this pro fisher team and share common goals for the health of the Richmond fishery," he said.

"Each year, the commercial fishers take part in a sustainable harvest of the Richmond mullet estuary migration run and the health of the catchment is of great importance to them.

"Water quality monitoring is fundamental in the management of the health of our fishery and water resources.

"We can now record data at regular intervals over an extended period to assess current condition and patterns in order to understand and manage the influence of factors such as land use, heat and climate change.

"This new water quality instrument will enable OzFish to provide more accurate information back to local councils and our partners in a timely manner with greater accuracy and reliability."

Brian Newlands, team leader and skipper for the Mullet Haul group, said: "Being able to team up with OzFish in monitoring water quality issues opens a few more doors for us.

"The Richmond certainly has its fair share of water quality issues and we look forward to a team effort with OzFish."

Projects funded by this group of commercial fishers in the past have included a fish passage ladder at Kyogle, alterations to weirs in the Casino area to allow better fish movement and funding of hardware for OzFish Sydney rock oyster research work still ongoing.


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